by Terry Magness
"Your hair is so pretty," remarked Kaylah, our waitress.
The place was packed, and a line of patrons waited, yet this lovely girl with a long chestnut ponytail took a moment to engage with us. "I hope my hair is like yours when I get older."
My husband, wanting to get a reaction, pointed to the "snow" on his head and teased, "We both dye our hair this color."
"Really?" she asked sincerely.
She glanced at me.
Seeing my knowing smile and shaking head, she bent over the table. With a sparkle in her eyes, she looked squarely at Don and, as if confronting a child, she asked, "Did you just tell me a lie?" Leaning closer, she warned, "You have to be good for Santa because you can't repent and get forgiveness from him." Straightening up, Kaylah walked around the table, adding, "We are good for Jesus because we love him. We are good for Santa because we want something."
We all laughed and agreed she had a good point. But, I was particularly impressed by the boldness and ease with which this young woman, only four years old in the Lord, took—no, made—an opportunity to witness for Christ.
I have been in ministry for over forty years, making a decision early on to find open doors for sharing Jesus. It has happened quite naturally at times during conversation. But mostly, I have found it challenging to find an effective way to introduce Jesus without feeling in-your-face obnoxious. It comes easily in church, Bible study, or pastoral counseling, when someone is asking for direction, or with friends. But to approach the man or woman on the street, well, I would just as soon leave that to the evangelists and those "called" to that ministry. Not that I haven't tried. I have gone door-to-door when training how to reach the lost, and also during church Thursday night outreaches. No one was ever rude to me. But I have felt uncomfortable. Why, I wonder?
When I commended Kaylah for her boldness, she replied, "Well, if we are ashamed to talk about Him, we are not His.”
The Apostle Paul was motivated by a very real and godly love for people. His whole ministry could be summed up in this: he could not bear the thought that anyone would miss eternity with God. Paul was not thinking of himself. He was willing to suffer beatings, imprisonment, torture, humiliation, misunderstanding, ridicule, and to die so that others might enter in. His is a picture of Christ and his heart and sacrifice for the sake of mankind. Is it not written, "Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13 KJV)
Could it be that I am fear driven because I am more concerned about me than I am others? What people will think? What they will do? God reminds us that He "has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV)
Lord, I pray you will deliver me from the torment of fear, and perhaps indifference, as I focus upon You this Christmas. You are the author and finisher of my faith. Help me see others through Your eyes. Let my heart beat with Your desires, and may it feel the weight of a soul that may not enter eternity with You unless I do speak. Give me such a passion for the lost, that I would pay any price to give the gift of eternal life.
Terry Magness has been in Christian ministry for forty years, is a licensed minister, author, pastoral counselor to church leaders, missionary, and founder of Grace Harbour Ministries, a Bible based international teaching and discipleship ministry to women. She oversees and teaches needs-based Overcomers classes in her local church, dedicated to helping men and women apply Biblical principles to every life situation. Terry is a lover of people in general, and her family in particular. She enjoys good friends, stimulating conversation, writing, photography, and fishing with her husband, Don.
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